News Article

April 3, 2024

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Knowing your ‘Why’ and ‘How’ before your next Job Hunt

“Every bonus season offers two sides of the same coin”, as the old adage goes, tried and true. Well, maybe it’s not quite an old adage [yet] but the core messaging holds true nonetheless. As we touched upon in our recent post, Bonus Features, the annual bonus compensation period offers a vital opportunity for companies to reflect on their own talent management and succession planning. Just as valuable is the employee’s perspective at this juncture, especially the top talent that companies would regret losing to a competitor. While we’ve mentioned the myriad of reasons for employees to consider departure from their current role on this platform before, for the sake of brevity, let’s presume the candidate has made up their mind and decided that their time in their current position is nearing its end, with much hand-wringing and contemplation now solidifying the need for a change of scenery. But, what next? The thought of, “All I want is out” is quickly followed by, “Where to next?”, and “How do I get there from here?” Important yet potentially complex questions that the individual will encounter; however, there is a dynamic framework and invaluable resources available to the candidate to assist with making a thoughtful and well-informed decision that is sure to have a profound impact on their career trajectory.

One of the most important and guiding questions that an individual can ask themselves when considering a new company is why; the answer to this question shapes much of what follows. Giving serious thought and contemplation to this question will inform many other factors that make up the search journey. Unfortunately, so many candidates begin this process without asking themselves what, at the core, is driving their decision to leave their present role. Are they being pushed out – for example, by a toxic work culture, what they perceive to be inadequate compensation, or simply an untenable work arrangement with an office commute that’s too long – or are they being pulled – for instance, they’re generally pleased with their current arrangement but have been presented with a dream opportunity elsewhere, a prospect beckoning them away from their current company?

What’s more, having a firm grasp on the why can better inform the direction the individual wants to go. For example, as Matthew Nickens of Coleman Search Group says, “if you’re at a large international company and you’re looking because you don’t like a big corporate environment, then don’t let yourself get swayed by dollars to go to another large corporate environment.” Consider this additional scenario: an employee finds their current work culture to be compatible and in-step with their career trajectory, paired with a manageable office commute; however, they are less enthused with their compensation. In this instance, they may want to carefully consider whether higher compensation will be worth sacrificing the other elements that make their present role so enjoyable. While there are no right or wrong answers to these questions per se, they help to form an individual’s preferences so that when a job offer is extended, the candidate knows whether the opportunity is truly right for their short-and-long-term professional aspirations.

Having answered the why question, the candidate can then look to the how. While firing up the internet browser and immediately clicking on the open job posts may sound tempting, there are several alternatives. One of the first items to review is the résumé – and perhaps the LinkedIn profile, if preferable – to ensure any additional years of experience and accomplishments have been incorporated.  Matthew Nickens notes, “since first impressions are everything, your résumé should be professional, polished, and detailed yet concise. Determine what is vital for people to know about you and omit any ‘fluff’.  Lean on the quantitative data as often as possible. How big was your team in each role? How many direct reports did you have? What was the size of your book and in which lines of business? How much did you grow your book? Geographically, which states or regions do you have expertise in?”

Additionally, reaching out to the candidate’s professional network may be helpful in gaining valuable understanding as to what it would be like working for other companies and, if there is a potential match, obtaining more information about the role and what responsibilities it would entail. Furthermore, practicing interview skills – particularly if it’s been some time since the last such meeting – will bode well for a candidate’s chances of landing a coveted offer from a new company.

You’re reading a post on a recruiter’s website, so we would be remiss if we didn’t mention how the right recruiter can also be an invaluable resource to a candidate. As Matthew Nickens explains, “not all recruiters are the same, so do your due diligence, talk to your network, and have multiple conversations with multiple recruiters to determine which one(s) best fits your personality, career needs, and objectives. As you progress in your career, you’ll find that the strongest recruiters will not only be able to represent you accurately and ethically, but they should also be a valuable source of information and insight within your industry and market.”

Bonus season will often prompt an employee, for a multitude of reasons, to reexamine whether they’re in the right role and company. While the process of searching for a new job can be daunting for any candidate, ensuring that they fully understand why they’re looking can better shape the search process and in turn improve the chances of a successful outcome. Once the individual knows why they want to leave, they can then figure out how, which can include updating their resume, connecting with their professional network, and considering the engagement of an able recruiter. Ultimately, the candidate should find the right opportunity for them so that by the time next bonus season comes along, they’re more than happy with their side of the coin and not faced with starting the search process all over again.



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